De Bruin ready for team-mate in Games semi
Silver Ferns defender Leana de Bruin is looking forward to taking on franchise team mate Jo Harten for a place in the Commonwealth Games gold medal final.
England goal shoot Harten was a key member of the Waikato/Bay of Plenty Magic team along with de Bruin this year, but the pair will go head to head tomorrow night at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (9pm NZ time).
Having edged past Jamaica on Wednesday night with a flattering 50-42 win, the Silver Ferns know they will face another difficult game against an English side which was unlucky not to despatch Australia in the group stage.
''We've got to focus on one thing and I've got to really focus on Jo and what I can do against her, or whoever is taking her on,'' de Bruin said.
''Everyone is tough and I think the ANZ definitely helps. Those girls know us pretty well, especially Jo, that we are going to come up against.''
De Bruin and captain Casey Kopua were superb against Jamaica, New Zealand's defence making up for a poor shooting return in the absence of the injured Maria Tutaia and Cathrine Latu which saw Jodi Brown and Ellen Halpenny shoot a combined 73 per cent.
New Zealand's experienced circle defence kept Jhaniele Fowler-Reid to just 35 goals, a performance Silver Ferns coach Wai Taumaunu rated as the best defensive effort against the world class finisher at these Commonwealth Games.
''I think it's great that we had such a tough battle before we had the finals series because we've showed what we can do,'' de Bruin said.
The injuries which had affected the team were not a scenario the Silver Ferns had prepared for, although they do spend a lot of time training to cope with adversity.
''There's nothing you can do about it. You've just got to refocus and I thought Ellen and Jodi did particularly well,'' de Bruin said.
''They just got on with the job. That's the opportunity and they've just got to shine when it matters.'
Taumaunu said Halpenny had not disgraced herself in the biggest game of her fledgling international career.
''I don't think it was our best shooting accuracy performance but I think they worked the circle pretty well. We had a youngster out there who had to come into the big time very fast and under some real public glare and she coped - and that's as good as we could have asked.
''It was up to us to create the number of opportunities she needed and keep that circle composed.'
Unbeaten Australia will take on Jamaica in the second semifinal from 11.15pm (NZ time).
Having worked over Fowler-Reid, de Bruin said the Silver Ferns would take some confidence forward against another tall shooter in Australia's Caitlin Bassett if they can get past England.
''Aussie plays a similar style with Bassett, so it's good preparation for that but we've just got to take it one game at a time and refocus for England now.''